School of Art

Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) announces the retirement of Dr. Julie Sasse, chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art. Sasse has been in role at the museum since 2000 and chief curator since 2006.

(In 2022, Sasse received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Arizona School of Art, where she earned her Ph.D. in art history in 2013.)

During Sasse’s tenure at TMA, she organized more than 100 diverse and thought-provoking exhibitions, authored more than 40 catalogues, books, and journal articles, and was instrumental in bringing in hundreds of works of art into the permanent collection, greatly enhancing the quality and diversity of its holdings.

In 2022, Dr. Julie Sasse received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Arizona School of Art, where she earned her Ph.D. in art history in 2013. Photo Credit: Willo Art

“It has been a deep honor to have served as chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Tucson Museum of Art,” Sasse said, “I am fortunate to have organized scores of exhibitions that showcased the amazing artistic talent in Arizona and the Southwest. I am proud to have acquired art and organized exhibitions by important artists from around the country and beyond for audiences in Tucson. I have forged lasting relationships with amazing artists, volunteers, docents, members, patrons, board of trustee members, staff, and the community, and I will cherish my time at the museum.”

Among Sasse’s notable achievements while at TMA are the acquisition of works by John Chamberlain, Vernon Fisher, William T. Wiley, Gregory Crewdson, Kara Walker, Robert Bechtle, Tom Uttech, Andy Warhol, Wendy Red Star, Yinka Shonibare, Joyce Scott, Shelley Niro, vanessa german, and Serge Clottey. She focused on showcasing women artists and creating group exhibitions that included artists of color, Indigenous artists, and others in a range of backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. Among her notable group exhibitions are Trouble in Paradise: Examining Discourse in Nature and Society; Paint on Metal: Modern and Contemporary Explorations and Discoveries; Into the Night: Modern and Contemporary Art and the Nocturne TraditionDress Matters: Clothing as Metaphor, and Desert Grasslands. Her solo exhibitions include artists Ai Weiwei, Florence Pierce, Bailey Doogan, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Rose Cabat, Monica Aissa Martinez, Olivier Mosset, Allan Graham, and Brad Kahlhamer, among others.

Julie Sasse and Willie Booner at the 4 x 4 exhibition opening.

“It has been an enormous privilege to work with Chief Curator Dr. Julie Sasse over the past year. Her vast and varied knowledge of the art and artists of the Southwest has provided me with an ideal introduction to TMA. I wish her well in the next chapter of her life and I’m certain it will include art in some way, shape, or form.” said Norah Diedrich, the Jon and Linda Ender Director and CEO.

Sasse plans to pursue independent curatorial projects and writing and to return to her artistic practice.

In partnership with staff executive team, the Board of Trustees will initiate a transition plan and a national search for Chief Curator position to ensure the TMA’s success and continuity of services.

This press release originally appeared on the Tucson Museum of Art website. Republished with permission.